By: Queen of Hearts Paris
As the second week of online GPL matches continues, I have found myself extremely pleased that I made the decision to follow this new, highly innovative form of team poker. I had approached it tentatively, thinking it would be fun to write a few blogs about it and then move on, but that isn’t what happened. I got hooked!
So, you are now looking at my current work set-up: laptop for working, including writing blogs, and second screen to follow the 6-Max and Heads-Up matches when they’re live streaming on www.globalpokerleague.com or www.twitch.tv/gpl on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Most people who know me will find this hard to believe, since I have never been the poker player in the family and never particularly enjoyed watching poker being played, live or online. My husband is the poker enthusiast, which is one of the reasons we created the Texas Poker Store four years ago. He’s the one who plays in a friendly poker game once a week and online most nights. He’s the one who has gone to Vegas to “cover” the WSOP Final Nine each year (at least that’s what he tells me) and he has the photos to prove it.
Anyway, yesterday, I was watching a Heads-Up match between Kitty Kuo of the San Francisco Rush and Joao Samoa of the Sao Paulo Metropolitans ( the end result of the 6-Max match among a member of each team from the Americas Conference ) I started to get deeply involved in one of the most unusual and entertaining aspects of the GPL: the live webcams inviting the viewing audience into the minds, strategies and personalities of the players. It was fun listening to Kuo saying “Ooooh; I want to win” and then screaming for joy as she won the match for her team.
And it’s been fascinating to hear other players share their thoughts with us. Xuan Liu was narrating her every move and observed, “So much fun when you’re getting good hands. I hope I didn’t jinx myself.” She didn’t, winning points for the Montreal Nationals. Sam Trickett, of the London Royals had a very different approach, remaining stoic and unemotional (even as he let us see his dog!) in his match against Randy Lew of the Hong Kong Stars. Lew revealed so much of his thought process and showed his emotions throughout, finally taking the win in the rubber match. And then, as I tried desperately to write this simple blog, I got totally caught up in a never-ending Heads-Up between Dominik Nitsche of the Berlin Bears (it seems all the Bears love to entertain and inform the audience) and Vladimir Troyanovskiy of the Moscow Wolverines. In fact, that’s when I took it too far and wound up starting an entire meme in the chat room based on my public observation of how hot he was. He finally won, giving the Wolverines some big points.
Somewhere in the midst of all of that I had an epiphany. I understood why Alex Dreyfus believed he could sportify poker, because he had already reeled me in. I’m a huge sports fan, mostly football and basketball, so I know what it feels like to root for your team. And I also know that even people who don’t follow college basketball at all still get involved in March Madness. Dreyfus understood that. He knew if he could just get the attention of non-poker fans by being innovative, giving them teams to pull for and personalities to attract and excite us (not to mention that L.A., making the very last wildcard pick, added the wildly popular actor/poker player, Aaron Paul) that the Global Poker League might just make a huge impact in the poker world. I think, within the next couple of years, he’s going to wind up being right.